We got up early this morning and did some work and then headed out to do the Disney thing. We walked a couple loops over to catch the campground bus down to the main bus depot (about a mile away, at the entrance to the campground). From there we caught a bus to our first theme park of the day: Disney's Animal Kingdom. We got park hopper passes for one day, which means we could do as many of the parks as we wanted. We had instructions from Kevin's brother to go straight to Expediton Everest and (1) get a Fast Pass and (2) if the line was short enough, ride it once and come back for your Fast Pass window and ride it again and do something else while you wait. Turns out Everest was temporarily closed when we got there so we grabbed a Fast Pass and headed over to Kilimanjaro Safari (20 minute wait). We really knew nothing much about Safari, but it was awesome. You ride a big jeep-like thing like you've booked a safari in Africa, but unlike other rides like this I've been on (Jungle Boat Ride), there are REAL animals…kinda like Lion Country Safari…when I was a kid. It's super cool.
This guy really wanted to check us all out as we passed:
As did the ostrich:
Baobob tree with baby elephant (on the right):
Duck, with hippos in the background (through water spotted glass…click to enlarge if you can't make out the hippo):
We saw many, many animals. White and black rhinos, hippos, lions, antelope, cheetahs, crocodiles…it was a very cool ride, and we loved this whole park (Animal Kingdom). It's divided into separate areas for Asia, Africa, etc. and the architecture and "set" for each area is, well not "authentic"…but you know…"Disney authentic".
We walked around and killed some time before riding Everest and saw this Airstream as part of the set for one of the diners. Cute! (It's got numbers and everything.)
Then, we rode Everest. (What a fun roller coaster…totally worth the wait.) We ended up staying a while in Animal Kingdom…doing a few of the wildlife walks and grabbing some lunch…before we headed over to Disney's Hollywood Studios to ride the Rock 'n Roller Coaster. We caught a bus from Animal Kingdom to Hollywood Studios, walked around a bit, rode the roller coaster (no wait at all), walked around some more, and then caught another bus to Epcot. (We should have gone to Magic Kingdom in here, since we had time. Then, we'd have done 4 theme parks in one day. Oh well. Three was plenty.)
We rode a bunch of rides at Epcot, and decided to go check out the aquarium (it's now part of the Nemo ride). I took a few photos through the glass (totally cheating). But check out this seahorse…they're so freaky!
Kinda looks like a villain dolphin here:
We saw a big spotted eagle ray just like the one we saw when we were kayaking at Curry Hammock State Park down in the Florida Keys last week:
After rides and stuff we headed over to the World Showcase Pavillion at Epcot. This area is full of attractions and restaurants that represent the culture and cuisine of 11 countries including: Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, United Kingdom, and the United States.
The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival was going on while we were there so we'd planned to do that for dinner. In addition to the regular restaurants, each country represented (plus a few extras like Belgium, Poland, Greece, Scandinavia) has food kiosks with small plates and wine or beer of the region. So basically you can just wind your way around the lake that's in the middle of all of it and sample food and drink from a bunch of different countries. It was fun, and good, but not mind-blowing or anything.
I took this photo while eating our spicy hand rolls from Japan:
We walked and walked and then finally ended our wandering meal with a trio of little desserts and a glass of Moët & Chandon champagne. We found a spot on the lake where we could watch the 9pm fireworks…it wasn't the best spot (since we started scrounging real estate on the late side) but it wasn't bad. I kinda like the tree there in front, actually:
We bussed it back to our campground and we're super tired. We were themeparking from 9:30 this morning until 10:30 this evening. That's a lot of themeparking. According to Fit Bit: 27,389 steps, 13.52 miles, 4,230 calories, 9 floors.
Tomorrow: On to St. Augustine, FL.